Tips to add value to your business during COVID-19

At ThomsonAdsett, we’re thinking of ways you can add value to your business during COVID-19 and we want to share these with you.

  1. Expedite master planning, feasibility studies and documentation work to be ready for construction once the crisis passes. Many large developments will wish to mobilise after the crisis. Having designs finalised, approvals in place and contractors ready to commence will mean you can jump the queue.
  2. Consider refurbishing while there are fewer people using your space.
  3. Bring project programmes forward to create a buffer for potential COVID-19 delays, minimise loss of trade and minimise disruptions to your business down the track.
  4. Revisit your business’s current workplace configuration and future requirements with a task force moving towards flexible work arrangements.

Education & Communities

Community and education work is all about stakeholder engagement during the concept and design phase. The management of this using digital meeting spaces (Zoom, Teams, etc.) and digital surveys to gather data from stakeholders is something ThomsonAdsett is well versed in. Our team can assist you to manage this type of stakeholder engagement.

The designs of schools, community facilities and the like (if not all places) will be affected by this situation. Moving forward, we will need to consider how to design for less physical connection. This will need to be balanced with an increased focus on creating social connections.

Health

Providers of health-related services will generally be considered “essential services” and remain open. Nevertheless, this time may provide an opportunity where the number of patients, especially where there is an elective aspect to the services offered, are reduced. This can present the opportunity to refresh or update the premises, or medical equipment, with a reduced impact on the continuity of care provided to patients and/or customers.

The current environment may also be a catalyst for providers to reconsider how their services can be delivered, in a more dynamic and distributed way than in previous times. This could involve rethinking methodologies, locations, and modalities. The technology currently being employed to communicate and work remotely could be leveraged to transform service delivery.

Retail & Commercial

Shopping centre owners own a lot of land which is often developed at a low density. Adding other uses such as student accommodation, aged care accommodation, residential, hotels, child care or civic uses such as libraries adds value to assets, and these uses can support the retail component. Centres that call themselves ‘town centres’ or ‘villages’ may actually start to become what they say they are. Now is a good time to look at under-utilised assets and plan for a changed (and more interesting) future. ThomsonAdsett works closely with town planners to design well-considered master planning for retail and mixed-use sites.

There is also an opportunity to assess energy options, water usage and water collection. Climate change and sustainability are at the top of the list of social concerns. Retail uses a LOT of energy from the grid but it doesn’t need to. Retail centres tend to have large, underutilised roof areas, and adding solar PV panels on them to meet their energy needs is a no-brainer. Solar is getting cheaper and more efficient, and the ROI is getting much shorter. Now is a good time to investigate the options to reduce CO2. Asset owners who do the right thing will benefit.

Given the unpredictable (weather) climate, retailers can do their part to conserve water by installing rainwater collection systems and even treatment facilities on site.  Now is a good time to investigate the options to make centres more resilient and responsible.

Meanwhile, new modes of transport will change our cities and our retail experiences.  Ridesharing, car sharing, AVs, click & collect, Uber Air and a greater emphasis on pedestrians and cycling will alter the retail environment and open up space for other uses. Entertainment-focused retail is on the rise, other types of retailers such as fashion are being impacted by online shopping.  Where is your centre headed and what are the ways to capitalise?

It’s a great time to carry out interior improvements such as mall ceilings, food courts, amenities and the like. Centres are quiet, so disruptive works are much easier to do. When we return to a ‘new normal’, works will be complete and ready to impress.

Interiors

This is a great time to take stock of your business’s future, aspirational ways of working and how your work place environment can be adjusted and redesigned to enable this.

The current isolation measures have almost instantaneously moved us into a majority remote and agile workforce, which will undoubtedly change workflows and our places of work permanently. For landlords and asset owners, a change in the way people work may mean a reduction in traditional tenancy footprints. However, this presents an opportunity to look at diversification. The continual growth and interest in mixed-use spaces generally, speaks to people’s desire for places that serve multiple purposes – work, leisure, health and wellness, socialisation, restoration and convenient amenities. Now is the perfect time to undertake some strategic workshops to see how your asset can be futureproofed in line with consumer and market trends.

Technology is holding us all together in a huge way at the moment and we are all forming new habits based on this daily. There’s no better time to think about how you can take on new tech and innovation to respond to users’ needs and how your interiors can be shaped to this. In retail and hospitality spaces, think about plug-in hot spots, meeting areas, quiet zones. In workplaces, consider providing a variety of work points to respond more effectively to a wireless, ‘nomadic’ team.  Finally, there is a great deal of innovation in automated, touch-free environmental technology and robotics. It’s particularly relevant, especially in high-risk environments such as seniors living and health, to consider how technology can be integrated to limit cross-contamination and improve hygiene control (for example – touch-free washrooms and anti-bacterial material selections).

Seniors Living

This pandemic is testing our care places in unprecedented ways. Now is the time to review the strengths and weaknesses of your facility (including the functionality and experience of various spaces). ThomsonAdsett has processes in place that enable these sorts of reviews to be conducted remotely. Our methodology is interview intensive, thus circumnavigating the need to attend any care facility physically. Deep diving into what needs improvement and the lessons learnt from successes and failures can also be extremely valuable in planning your next development.

There is also an opportunity to refine the Assisted Living Apartment (ALA) brief. Many people within our longer living communities are restricted to their home during this COVID-19 pandemic, causing a lack of exercise and decreased health and wellbeing. Moving forward, there’s an opportunity to integrate exercise fittings (in addition to the transitional needs assistance equipment) in ALAs that allow residents to maintain their fitness.

COVID-19 has embedded the term “social isolation” into common day language. Opportunities exist in re-examining social spaces or lack thereof within care facilities to foster ongoing connectivity within the resident community. This is especially relevant to those in care facilities where physical isolation is implemented. COVID-19 prompts the question – do we need to design specific digital media spaces into your care environments to ensure connectivity to family and friends? This connectivity could include; podcasting, online book clubs, virtual dance studios and education in a post-corona environment.

Please contact us on 1300 304 290 to discuss how ThomsonAdsett can help add value to your business.